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Has the NHS passed its sell-by date?

Send your letters to letters@independent.co.uk

Wednesday 11 January 2017 14:09 GMT
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Junior doctors and supporters rally through the city centre during an all-out strike on April 26, 2016 in Bristol, England
Junior doctors and supporters rally through the city centre during an all-out strike on April 26, 2016 in Bristol, England (Getty)

No amount of money will save the NHS. It has passed its sell-by date. There is not an endless supply of money that public sector workers think there is. It's time to stop some cosmetic surgery the NHS carries out, charge for patient meals at cost and ask for deposits on crutches and other medical devices that are meant to be returned. Finally, make sure all patient tourists repay their care. For too long politicians have been afraid to tackle the issue. Meanwhile, it’s the unions who have ruined the NHS for not allowing the overhaul it needs.

Tim Sayer
Bristol

Both Jeremy Hunt, the Health Secretary, and Chris Hopson, chief executive of NHS Providers, claimed that the problems in the NHS – waiting on a trolley for 35 hours and dying of a heart attack before being found a bed – is not a “humanitarian crisis”. Had the First World War secured the world peace it was believed it would – “the war to end all wars” – it would most certainly be a “humanitarian crisis”. The fact that high-ranking officers in the NHS are attempting to downgrade the most damaging and traumatising problem ever to have hit the health service since it was born is surely as shameful, if not unforgivable as dereliction of duty.

Hopson claimed that “all NHS staff where absolutely working their hardest”. Why should anyone, especially people who’ve worked their absolute hardest to get the qualifications needed for the most compassionate job on the planet, have to shed blood, sweat and tears in the NHS while Britain’s fat cats earn £1,000 per hour?

The worst of it is that, hospitalisations from self-harm and eating disorders have doubled in the past three years, and in some parts of the country, rates of childhood depression, anxiety, self-harm and eating disorders are up by 600 per cent. The average onset age for depression was 45 in the 1960s. Today it is age 14. Meanwhile, child and adolescent mental services have suffered budget cuts of £85m since 2010. Mental health problems now account for one in every three GP consultations.

When Natasha Devon was appointed children’s mental health tsar in August 2015, by the Department for Education, her absolute commitment to the job (arguing government education policies had contributed to mental health problems) got her the sack. Should Jeremy Hunt and Chris Hopson resign?

Allan Ramsay
Radcliffe

What is the outcry over the state of the NHS? As a nation we would rather give £145.50 per year, raising £3.7bn from all sources, according to the BBC. By law we have to pay the fee which is sanctioned by the Government. Now hands up all those who would rather prop up a self-regulated, biased, television channel or pay £145 50 per year to an institution that saves lives? The £3.7bn would clear the existing NHS deficit of 2.45bn. The NHS was designed for a population of 45 million in 1948, not the 65 million population of 2016.

David Cowling
Skegnes

High stakes policies for Jeremy Corbyn

Attention-grabbing as a high pay cap is, I offer the suggestion that several birds could be got with a more crafty ruse. Why not offer a 50 per cent cut in corporation tax for enterprises conforming to a basket of conditions? For example: worker-owned and run cooperatives with representation on the board automatically; equal pay between genders; workplace childcare provision; a pay differential between the highest and lowest paid of a maximum of 20; the national living wage as a minimum; 30-day settlement of all bills; a maximum 40-hour week for employees; and, optima; eco credentials. This style of nudging would be more widely supported and would achieve so much more. If you have them by the pounds, their minds will surely follow.

Steve Ford
Haydon Bridge

At least with footballers you can argue they are paid for a skill in an open marketplace. I have not seen any study that correlates executive pay to skill, nor is it an open marketplace – the buyers want a high price. Corbyn is right to highlight it. The question is how to refocus corporate management on every contributor to the success of a business, not just the narrow interest of themselves and investors. This needs a society that wants that change, something that has to come from the young without a vested interest.

Jon Hawksley
London EC1R

I listened to Jeremy Corbyn's interview on the BBC Radio 4 Today programme and the whole of his later speech in Peterborough. Your savage reporting of these events is beyond belief. Why are you not praising him for raising the whole question of wage differentials and the need to reduce inequality? The fact that he offered a variety of possible ways of tackling the problem obviously does not satisfy the simple journalistic mind that likes instant solutions and headlines. Start discussing the issue instead of ridiculing the man.

David Parker
Address withheld

In his interviews yesterday, Jeremy Corbyn came over as honest and thoughtful with a clear vision of the sort of society he wants us to live in. The fundamentals of leadership are to spell out a clear vision and to give honest answers as to how policy is evolving. Far better this than the bold, lying statements we have been subjected to by so many politicians recently who continue to remain in positions of power, without a fraction of the negative press coverage that Corbyn has to endure. I do not expect my newspaper of choice to confirm my views but I do expect honest and unbiased reporting.

Marilyn Tyzack
Address withheld

After scratching their heads for months, the Labour Party has finally caught up with us. We have been saying for months that it is inevitable, not probable, that Brexit will happen. So, in November we published our three common-sense goals that any Brexit plan should meet: secure people’s jobs and livelihoods, fully fund the NHS, and a create a fair immigration system that benefits our country. Since then, thousands of supporters have joined us. We’re delighted that common sense has finally prevailed with one of the two major political parties in the UK, which means we’re now just waiting on the Government to arrive at the party. Let’s hope they bring a decent crate of lager rather than a cheap three litre bottle of cider.

Kyle Taylor, Director
Smart Brexit

Market tremors

What is happening in the exchange markets is pure manipulation by speculators. Given the uncertainty over Brexit, which leads to false reports purely to make a killing in the market by traders, the Government and European Central Bank should fix the current value pound-euro and prevent any movement or speculative trading until the outcome of Breixt is known. This would prevent unnecessary fluctuations in the market which damage business and tourists and benefit only the speculators.

Peter Fieldman
Madrid

Democracy in action

President Obama’s retirement speech contained the words “grab a clipboard ... get signatures, and run yourself”. I did that, in four general elections – and I was ignored the media. Why? Because I refused to kowtow to the system of being a candidate of a recognised political party. It shows that the Emperor's New Clothes syndrome is part of the mis-Representation of the People Act.

Martin Levin
Address withheld

Deserving of honour

The recent deaths of Jill Saward and Claire Hollingsworth appear to highlight the blinkered thinking of those assembling the honours lists. Did either of these two women receive a formal recognition of their particular contributions to society?

Saward showed outstanding courage in allowing her name to be published after her rape and then went on to work hard to expose the plight of rape victims. In doing so she contributed enormously to the move to get greater recognition for women’s rights. Hollingsworth was an outstanding war journalist who showed enormous courage and dedication and made a significant contribution to our knowledge of several war zones and paved the way for other women to work reporting war from the front line.

Compared with athletes and sportsmen and women, who already get awards for their achievements, or political donors whose motives are suspect, these two women got no national awards. Doesn’t this again show up the blinkered prejudices of those making the selection? Should I return my award in protest?

Anthony D Wood MBE
Liskeard

Ode to Southern Rail

Do not stand at my platform and weep
I am not there I do not keep
To my promise to run on time
But sit in first and you'll get a fine
I am a thousand groans oh no
As the tannoy declares your train won't go
I am that slow running, half-length train
Making life seem like such a pain
I hope you're not in any rush
Hang on tight and enjoy the crush
Anger rises and people fight
But Southern management are nowhere in sight
And whilst you complain with all your might
They simply take delight
In record profits that make you cry
And ticket prices that draw a collective sigh
So do not stand at my platform and try
I am not there, God knows why!

Sara Shipley
Coulsdon

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